To Be a Prefect
The relative calm and quiet of the Lupin household was abruptly broken with a cry of complete horror. Mr. and Mrs. Lupin, who had been debating on a new way to decorate their bedroom, gaped at each other when they heard this, recognising the cry as their son’s. What had he done now? It was not uncommon recently for Remus to be doing something and accidentally smash, snap, or melt whatever he was using. Now must have been one of those times. His frustration must have reached its breaking point. The adults abandoned their debate and quickly descended into the kitchen, where they could see, through the window, an owl flying off in the distance. Remus was standing in the centre of the room, a red and gold badge in one hand and his wide eyes staring at the sheet of parchment held in his other hand.
“Remus, what happened?” Anna Lupin asked concernedly, looking over her son to make sure he was alright.
Remus struggled with his words for a moment, seemingly trying to find the best way to express what he was feeling. His mouth opened and closed several times as he tried to formulate the best way to word it. “How could he do this to me?”
Harry sighed knowingly. They should have suspected this the second they saw him holding a letter. “What did James do?” Who else could be behind the source of Remus’s horror if not for one of his best friends?
Remus did not hear his father and merely continued with his tirade. “Is he mental?”
“What did Sirius do now?” Harry amended. If it wasn’t James, it was certainly the eldest Black child.
“He is! He’s bloody mental! What was he thinking?”
Harry and Anna glanced worriedly at each other, both clearly concerned about their son’s sanity at this time. He was making absolutely no sense. Anna asked tentatively, “Remus, what are you talking about?”
“Dumbledore?” his parents echoed in shocked. Remus never spoke so lowly of their Headmaster for the fact that Dumbledore had never done anything to warrant it. “What did he do?” Harry questioned interestedly.
“He made me a Prefect,” Remus replied, spitting out the words like venom.
“Oh, Remus, this is wonderful!” Anna said happily. It was one of the highest honours at Hogwarts to be made a Prefect. So why was Remus acting as if Dumbledore had assigned him his execution date?
“Wonderful? This is not wonderful! This is terrible!”
“Why is it terrible?”
“Do you know what being a Prefect means?”
“That Dumbledore thinks you’re responsible enough to help the younger students?”
“Remus, you’re not upset about that, are you?” In all the years Harry had gotten to know his son, this was the last thing he would expect. Remus liked helping others; he wouldn’t be upset about that.
“No, of course not! This means I have to keep my friends in line; do you know how bloody impossible that is?”
“Ah, now we come to the problem.”
“They’re insane! Sirius and James more than Peter but put the three of them together and you have a huge mass of fifteen year old insanity!”
“Remus, you’re fifteen too,” Anna pointed out carefully.
“I know, Mum, but they never had to keep me in line.” He thrust the badge at his mother so she could get a better look, never having seen a prefect badge before. “Stupid letter P,” Remus muttered, narrowly eyeing the badge of honour with a look of the utmost loathing.
Harry stepped in, trying to erase the confused anger his son was currently experiencing. “Maybe Dumbledore just thinks you’re the right person for the job.”
Remus laughed hollowly. “I bet you anything he only gave me the job so I would have to keep my friends in line.”
Anna and Harry eyed at each other, each of them thinking along the same lines. Remus was probably right; Dumbledore’s main reason for assigning him the job would be to keep his best friends in line. James and Sirius were rowdier than Remus ever would be. It was true that Peter was not nearly as… hyperactive as James and Sirius; he would have a far more difficult time keeping the two from breaking too many rules than Remus would. Remus held a bit more authority over the two than Peter. They saw where their son’s anxiety was coming from – this would turn out to be a full time occupation, not just a side job.
“Well, Dumbledore wouldn’t give you the job only for that Remus,” Harry assured his son, hoping to ease his nerves. “I’m sure Dumbledore doesn’t hand out Prefect assignments based solely on what you’re worried about.”
Remus had to keep the derisive laugh threatening to come out from doing so. “If that was the case, why didn’t he give the job to Frank? He’s just as capable as I am.” He honestly just did not want the job. He would have enough to be getting on with during his fifth year, what with the OWL exams that were practically knocking the door of arrival down with a battering ram and the full moons that were taking everything out of his. He stuck to his theory that, as he got older, the full moons would grow worse. Now that he was fifteen… fifteen would be no better than fourteen. But Dumbledore had to add prefect duties to this? Remus would have to patrol the corridors when he would rather be in bed, break up duels when he would rather take part or stay out.
“Let’s go to Diagon Alley today,” Harry abruptly suggested.
Remus glanced up, eyebrows raised. “Why?”
“Well, your booklist came and I think you could do with a new pet, to celebrate this. It’s not every day my son is made a Prefect. How would you like an owl of your own?”
Remus did not hesitate to agree. If being a Prefect meant he finally got his own owl… he would just have to deal with it.
September first dawned rather windy, yet with perfectly clear skies. No one expected the blue, cloudless skies to remain, however, not with the way the wind was racing across the sky. The weather had until probably only six in the evening before it took a turn for the worst. Luckily, the impending inclement weather held off so the parents of the witches and wizards preparing for their new year at Hogwarts could get them on the train without worrying about a torrential downpour. They took full advantage of the crystal skies to say lengthy goodbyes to their children.
Unlike these happy families saying their tearful farewells, Sirius Black had already slipped away from Walburga and Orion, as well as his little brother Regulus, and was scouting out Platform Nine and Three Quarters in hopes of finding his best mates. He had not seen them since they had all left the Pettigrews’ and had only spoken to James through letters. He was suffering from a rather serious case of friendship withdrawal and needed to remedy it immediately. But, as his eyes grazed over the heads in the crowd, he did not see the untidy mass of black hair that belonged to James, nor did he see the mousy blonde hair of Peter Pettigrew. He did, however, see a crop of sandy brown hair that could belong to only one person.
“Oi, Lupin!” he shouted gleefully, laughing as the top of Remus’s head stopped moving as Remus made his way towards the train. Sirius could see Remus whirling around on the spot, trying to locate the source of the noise. He turned in the appropriate direction and Sirius yelled, “Get that disgusting bum of yours over here!”
“Nice to see you too, Sirius,” Remus greeted sarcastically once he had fought his way through a group of hyperactive fourth year girls who were giggling endlessly, fawning over the others that they had not seen in what they proclaimed to be ages. Honestly, girls made three minutes of absence seem like an eternity.
“What’s that you’ve got there?” Sirius inquired, gesturing to the large cage Remus was holding. It contained a Barn Owl with enormous golden eyes. He folded his arms across his chest and smirked. “Parents finally caved in and got you an owl? What’s the occasion?” Sirius knew the only reason Remus did not have an owl of his own was because Harry and Anna Lupin did not think it essential. Hogwarts had plenty of owls that he could use to mail his letters. Besides, Remus already had a dog, and now a new puppy. Sirius was rather surprised that his friend now had an owl. There must have been a special reason.
Remus suddenly appeared uncomfortable. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, purposely looking in the opposite direction of where Sirius was standing. “No… no reason, really.”
“Don’t give me that, Remus. Your parents wouldn’t just give you an owl when you already have two pets.” It was then that Sirius saw the red and gold P emblazoned on the chest of Remus’s robes. His mouth instinctively dropped open. He had completely forgotten that fifth year meant Prefect assignments. “Dumbledore made you Prefect?”
“Yes,” Remus admitted reluctantly, avoiding his friend’s eyes so as to not see the mirth in them.
Much to Remus’s surprise, Sirius did not laugh, nor did he smile in that annoying manner that suggested he did want to laugh. “Well, that explains the owl. What’d you name it?”
Sirius pulled a face. “Odd name for a bird.”
“I was listening to The Beatles when I was trying to think of a name.”
Sirius questioned this no further; he never quite understood Remus’s fascination with Muggle music. “It’s about time you got an owl.” He observed Jude the owl with fondness. “Peter like his new dog?”
“Yeah, he really likes him. He named him Apollo and - wait a moment,” Remus abruptly burst out.
“Why aren’t you laughing at me?”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because Dumbledore made me a Prefect.” He had been preparing himself for the fallout that he knew would occur on the first day of school for the entire remainder of the summer.
Sirius shrugged truthfully. “I dunno… you deserve being a Prefect.”
“Are you joking? I’ve been preparing myself all summer for you and James and Peter to laugh your bloody heads silly at the thought of me trying to keep you, not to mention every other troublemaker in the school, in line.”
Sirius rubbed his chin attentively. “I didn’t think about that part.” He face split into a crooked smile and at once he started doing exactly as Remus predicted. He burst into a round of loud, obnoxious chortles. “Good luck, mate!” He continued laughing, not stopping even when Remus shoved him towards the train and he tripped over the stairs, landing straight in front of James and Peter.
“And so very gracefully he lands, much like a swan,” James commentated thoughtfully.
“Or a faerie,” Peter offered.
“Yes, I believe faerie seems like the more appropriate comparison.”
“Stuff it, you two,” Sirius snarled, picking himself up and straightening out his robes. He looked up and down the corridor before turning back to his friends. “C’mon, let’s find us a compartment before the Slytherins take them all.” He, James and Peter started off down the hallway.
“Er,” Remus began uncertainly. His friends slowly revolved on the spot, raising their eyebrows at him when they saw he had not moved. “I… I have to go to the Prefect meeting.” He braced himself for the raucous hilarity that was bound to follow, once what he had said sunk in with James and Peter.
Again, the laughter did not come.
“Okay,” James simply said, shrugging. “It’s not going to take the entire ride, is it?”
“Uh… I – I don’t think so.”
“Okay then, we’ll see you later, mate.” James, Peter and Sirius waved to Remus and hurried to find a compartment.
To say Remus was confused was an understatement. He was confused, perplexed flummoxed, bemused, befuddled and any other word for to describe his current feelings. Why were they taking this so easily? Why were they not torturing him for becoming a Prefect? Was he exaggerating their behaviour when he thought of how his friends would react to this? Not entirely, as Sirius had laughed when he finally thought about it. James and Peter would have to do the same eventually. He hoped it wasn’t when he was around because he didn’t fancy having to get them to shut up. Getting Sirius to be quiet was work enough. Sweet Merlin, this was going to be an interesting year.
The Prefects had secured a compartment at the front of the train, so Remus didn’t have to go very far to locate it. He peered through the window, checking to see who was inside before he made the decision of going in. He could just as easily feign a sudden, foreign, illness. He saw that there were only a few people in there at the time, but they were people he did not necessarily have a problem with. Sixth year Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Oliver Pulliman, was seated near the window, shifting through a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. He could also see Jensen Patil; he must have been one of the Ravenclaw Prefects. Remus wondered who the other one was. There were also two older students that Remus did not know, but he assumed they were the Head Boy and the Head Girl.
Remus slid the compartment door open and stepped lightly over the threshold. At his first movement, the presumed Head Girl held her arm out to stop him. “Name?” she barked bossily.
Remus, taken aback, stuttered on his name. “R-Remus L-Lupin.”
“Is he on the list?” she snapped at the rather frightened boy beside her. He hastily consulted the clipboard he was holding with shaking hands and nodded. “Sit,” the girl demanded.
All too eager to be out of arm reach of this girl, Remus ducked under her arm and took the empty seat beside Jensen.
“She did the same thing to me,” Jensen hissed under his breath.
Remus, not knowing what to say, laughed nervously, keeping his gaze averted from the terrifying Head Girl.
The compartment slowly filled. The older Prefects were let by without an interrogation, but the fifth years were held back; the Head Boy checking their names to see if they were, indeed, the new Prefects. Remus recognised the fifth years – two Hufflepuffs, Allison Abbot and Craig MacMillian, and the other Ravenclaw, Emily Fort. He wondered where the Slytherin Prefects could be, not that he was in much of a rush for them to arrive, as he had the unsettling suspicion that he knew who one of them was. The other Gryffindor Prefect was taking her time getting there as well. There wasn’t much of a selection for Gryffindor – only Lily Evans and Alice Gordon. He would be happy with either choice.
The compartment door opened and two students were stopped by the overly authoritative Head Girl. Remus suppressed his groan. He had been right.
“Names?” the Head Girl ordered.
“Severus Snape.” Naturally the only thing that could worsen this whole Prefect thing was Severus Snape being the Slytherin male Prefect. He found out only seconds later that the female Prefect was Juliet Percival. Remus had less of an issue with her than he did her male counterpart, so he greeted her with a cool nod. He smiled pleasantly at Lily, who returned the grin before sitting down in between Oliver Pulliman and Snape. Now that everyone had arrived, the bossy Head Girl cleared her throat a little louder than was necessary.
“New Prefects, you may or may not know me,” she began in a voice that did not have to be so pompous. “My name is Alexandra Cooper of the Ravenclaw House and I am your Head Girl this year.”
Remus was very much tempted to point out that they had figured that out by now, but he bit his tongue, literally, causing him to visibly wince. He suddenly realised that this meeting would be longer than he had anticipated. Cooper appeared to be the kind of girl who could talk for long amounts of time without having any recognition of the stupor her charges were falling into.
“This is Jeffery Bennett, your Head Boy, also a Ravenclaw.” She jerked a thumb unimportantly at the frightened Head Boy, who appeared to be trying with great difficulty to keep himself from cowering under her glare. Remus didn’t blame him, and he was sure many of his fellow Prefects felt the same way. Even Snape was eyeing Cooper with immense dislike. Then again, perhaps Remus should not have been so surprised about that. “We have here schedules of when you will be patrolling, who you will be patrolling with and where.” She dropped the schedules into Juliet’s lap and instructed her to pass them around. “There is to be absolutely no negotiating with your allotted time, if you skip your patrol duty, the Headmaster will be informed.”
When Remus received his copy of the schedule he saw, with less surprise than he would have thought, that he patrolled once a week every week for September in the corridor near the Astronomy Tower. Great, sending snogging couples back to bed, my dream job. But that was not what he noticed right away – one of these nights happened to fall on the twentieth, a full moon. No negotiating… Well, she would have to settle for him not showing up without any notice, then. He knew Professor Dumbledore would understand.
Cooper drabbled on endlessly about the rules and regulations of the castle, most of which they all knew already, and the duties Prefects had to adhere to. The sixth years had all taken on dreamy stares as they daydreamed about the many things they wished they were doing at this time, while the fifth years were too afraid to nod off. For all they knew, she may have had to power to expel them from their title. After what seemed like ten lifetimes, but was really two hours, they were released from their hostage situation. The Prefects all but fled from the compartment.
“Oh, Merlin,” Remus heard Lily sigh exasperatedly to Snape. “Did she not realise no one was listening to her?”
“Doubtful,” Snape said agreeably. He glanced disdainfully back inside the compartment. “She looked like she was enjoying herself.”
“Hey, Remus,” Lily said, turning to her fellow Gryffindor Prefect. “When do you patrol?”
“Oh, uh…” Remus fumbled for his schedule. He held it out for Lily to see.
“Excellent, we’ll be patrolling together. Rather you than Cooper.”
“Rather anyone than Cooper.”
“D’you think she noticed the boogey hanging out of her nose the entire time she was talking?” Jensen Patil asked as he emerged from the compartment, pale in the face and a twitch in his eyes.
“If she did, she was doing a good job of pretending she didn’t,” Emily Fort chuckled before she and Jensen set off to patrol the train corridors.
“What was Dumbledore thinking, making her Head Girl?” Lily questioned, outraged. She could never picture the Headmaster assigning such a beastly girl to such an important position.
“That it would be fun to terrify his students?” Remus offered helpfully. “I need to go find James, Sirius and Peter.”
“We’re supposed to be patrolling,” Snape told him, folding his arms across his chest and narrowing his eyes.
“So go patrol. I’ll do that in a bit.” Sweet, sweet Merlin this year was going to be akin with hell. He thought he hated Snape? Spending time with Snape was a walk in a beautiful, flowery park compared to listening continuously to the Head Girl’s obnoxious voice for two hours. Without thinking, he stuck a finger in his ear to make sure they weren’t bleeding profusely. Patrolling and breaking up fights and helping the younger students, he was only one person! Remus took a deep breath, trying to maintain his composure; this was no time to lose his sanity. Though the idea was dreadfully tempting, he had to stay calm; he couldn’t let the pressure get to him.
He especially had to keep his cool now, as a fight had broken out right in front of him. And so the fun begins… Remus whipped out his wand and advanced on the quarreling fourth years. One was currently using Muggle violence, kicking and punching the other with unnecessary force, while the other was desperately seeking his wand, which was lying uselessly on the floor three feet away. “Hey,” Remus barked, stunned at the authority in his voice. “Break it up, you lot!”
They had either heard him and neglected his demand or pretended that they hadn’t heard him at all. The first fighter continued beating the other. “Oi!” Remus snapped, trying to restrain him and receiving nothing except a punch to the face as he was mistaken for another attacker, not a Prefect. Ignoring the searing pain in his nose, Remus successfully restrained the first boy, pulling his arms painfully behind his back. When the boy finally gave up struggling to break free, Remus was able to think up a punishment. “Let’s see, ten points from Slytherin for fighting a student with Muggle violence and injuring a Prefect.”
“What? You can’t be serious!” the Slytherin boy shouted indignantly, trying to break out of Remus’s grip again.
“You’re right, I’m not. Instead of ten points, let’s make it twenty points because you argued about it.”
The boy opened his mouth, no doubt to complain that Remus was being unfair, but quickly shut it. He didn’t want to lose his house anymore points than he already had.
“Now that you’ve managed to break my nose, get back to your compartment before I dock another ten points.”
Remus let the blood drip freely from his nose, staining the carpet below with tiny red drops. He trudged down the corridor, peering in the windows of the compartment doors. He finally found his friends sitting in a compartment near the back of the train, where they were engaged in what looked like a heated debate. He slid open the door.
“And that’s why you never give a hedgehog a biscuit,” Sirius concluded with an air of finality.
“Seriously, mate, get a life quickly,” James advised, shaking his head.
“Any of you have a tissue?” Remus asked, no longer able to ignore the flow of blood issuing from his nostrils. It was splattering the collar of his shirt and the front of his robes. He was a mess.
The three looked up and their mouths fell open at the sight of Remus with a bruised and bloodied nose. “Did the Head Girl hit you?” Sirius joked.
Remus grimaced. “She could have if she wanted to.” He slumped in his seat beside James, gratefully taking the tissue Peter offered him. He pressed it lightly to his nose, wincing as the pain seared through it. “I had to break up a fight. Slytherin’s already down negative twenty points.”
James sniggered mischievously. “Nice, maybe we should help it along a bit.”
“Yeah, blow up some desks and blame it all on them,” Sirius inputted.
Remus glanced uneasily between his two friends. This was precisely what he had feared. Oh, Merlin, this year couldn’t end soon enough.
Excerpt from Chapter Forty Five: Years in the Making
“Hell!” Sirius shouted, pounding a fist loudly on the table. He promptly ignored every face that turned to look at him. “That’s what it is! Hell! It’s all a conspiracy to terrify every fifteen year old that comes through Hogwarts.”
“Calm down, Sirius,” Remus advised, lowering himself onto the bench across from his friend. People were shamelessly staring at the commotion Sirius was making.
“You’re telling me to calm down? I saw you looking at McGonagall like you were about to wet yourself.”
Remus’s face reddened. “I never said I wasn’t nervous; you’re just making a spectacle of yourself and I’d rather people stop looking over here.” He took the ladle of stew and poured some into his bowl. “Besides, you think you have it bad? Try having to concentrate on the massive amounts of homework they’re giving us and Prefect duties at the same time.”
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